A few years ago a friend of ours, a really wonderful lady named Lou, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. At the time of this sad diagnosis, it was too late for the doctors to do much to help Lou. A mutual friend of ours, named Jan, was Lou's very best friend in the whole world. Jan was also a registered nurse and had experienced being with many people, at the end of life.
Over the years, and on many occasions, Jan and I would have "discussions" about whether or not animals would be waiting for us when we die. I always contended that they would be, because the Bible says that there are white horses at the right hand of God, so it always seemed to me that if there were white horses, there would be other animals waiting for us as well. Jan firm stance was that animals did not have souls, therefore they could not go to heaven and they would not be there waiting to greet us. (Her strict religious upbringing was coming through)
As Lou became more and more ill, and grew even closer to death, Jan stayed with her day and night. Lou finally sank into a deep coma and stayed there for three solid weeks. When she died, Jan was there with her, by her side.
Jan called me the next morning to tell me that Lou had passed way the night before. But Jan didn't tell me the rest of the story for several weeks to come. You see, it seems that on the night that Lou died, she awoke suddenly from her coma. Her eyes opened and she said one single, solitary word. Lou exclaimed in a quiet, weakened whisper, "SPARKY!" And then just as suddenly as she had awakened, she died.
None of Lou's family knew who "Sparky" was. Not her husband of 45 years, not her grown children, not Jan, no one. A couple of weeks later, Jan got a call from Lou's family, asking her to please come to their home as soon as possible. It seemed they had something of great importance to show to her. When Jan arrived, Lou's family greeted her with a smile, and then put something in Jan's hand.
It was an old black and white picture of a little girl and a German Shepherd. On the back it was hand written in faded ink: 'Lou, age 10, and Sparky'